Ye Olde Sunne Dryed Tomatoe

Visitors to this remote and historic ex-hostelry, far up in the hills where rivers rise, always used to enjoy looking at the old photographs on the wall. These reflected a bygone age when the local produce show was held here, customers formed football and darts teams and turned up in Toyota pick-ups.

Those were the days, my friends, when the pub was the social sine qua non of a scattered rural community. The community is still scattered but if anybody wants a pint now it has to be a widget tin from the supermarket down the valley; no pints have been sold at Ye Tomatoe for a twelvemonth.

Yes, in that short time Signor Pomodoro Lambretta, front of house, and Darren ‘Sharon’ Maclaren, chef, transformed the place. Before, you could only get bitter, lager, Guinness and two sorts of sandwich: cheese and pickle, or cheese. Under Pommy and Sharon, you could have Saltimbocca Siciliano, Fegato alla Milanese, Pavarotti alla Mariolanza and various fusion dishes, including Szechuan Ostrich Stroganoff and Thai Broken Harbour Soup with Wild Orkney Octopus. You washed these down with 35 different sorts of Bardolino and 27 of Frascati. If you got too merry you could have bed and full Italian breakfast for the price of a farm labourer’s week’s wages.

It was not long before the two proprietors discovered that Upper Weirdale was no place for a gastropub. Their loan was called in and they had to sell the place as a private house, so that was that.

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Another of the drawings featured in the book. Words by Mr Thorburn of course.

It’s that time of year when all the stats come out for the blogs and I note with some disappointment tinged with hope that the most popular blog was the one about my holidays in Crete


and the next best was one announcing an exhibition of my wife’s paintings.


Cartoons came a poor third! That aside I intend to persist. This site and the other one: will hopefully develop over the coming year.


I have a number of followers in Brazil, they seem to drop in every time I post so for them I have put this next paragraph through a translation sausage machine and hope that it works. Many thanks to our followers there.

Olá Brasil
parece que tenho seguidores no seu país e estou tendo esta oportunidade para agradecer-lhe para largar no site.Sinta-se livre para me acompanhar e passar no meu endereço do site aos seus compatriotas e mulheres. Saúdo-te para o seu senso de humor!
Que se refere ao
Paul Davies

Mongolian greetings and more…

I’m not a fan of Robins at Christmas.They are aggressive little birds, so this is a non-robin bird, no red chest.
Yesterday someone from Mongolia looked at my site!

I wish everyone anywhere in the world who has taken the trouble to drop in a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

Man and the Christmas Supermarket Shopping stare.


Worth reflagging this from last Christmas, I’ve seen a few of these poor creatures around this week.


It only take one trip to a Supermarket for the viewer to notice: ‘Men who’s been let loose in a supermarket with a list’.

‘Don’t come home without those items on the list that we never buy at any other time of the year’ is the order ringing around the head. Sending them on days like these is a cruelty beyond reason. They are not used to supermarkets at the best of times rarely getting involved in the shopping during the rest of the year and getting it wrong on the odd occasions mid year when they are asked to get something, so sending them out at this vital time is just wicked.

Look out for the look.It’s eyes wide open, a gait that is a little stumbling then a determination to reach for anything that closely resembles the list. Same words but not necessarily in the right order. In various moments of madness they will go completely ‘off-piste’ buying stuff in funny shaped bottles containing liquids that will never be tasted and will be thrown away in early December next year when found at the back of a kitchen cupboard. Or they will buy ordinary items that have had ‘the Christmas treatment’, butter with brandy added, cream with booze added, marmalade that has whisky in it ( or so the label says ), all which taste quite disgusting or of nothing at all, in particular the marmalade.

They will spend like a person possessed racking up charges on the credit card like never at any other time of year, which also explains the panic stricken look…they know they will have to pay for this madness in January.

Bike Woman

Survival depends on the continued existence of huge motor cycles.

In the spurious world of advertising, Bike Woman is a slinky young blonde beauty with nothing on beneath her leather jacket, which is otherwise well filled and unzipped to the waist. She sits astride a bike as if she and it were lust incarnate.

In reality, Bike Woman can be large, mature and frightening of aspect, to be approached with caution. She always has a male consort whose uses include driving the bike, refuelling the bike, polishing the bike, having an off-putting appearance, and mating. Places to spot Bike Woman include those favoured by the male consorts for summer rutting displays, such as the Isle of Man, the Hartside cafe between Penrith and Alston, and the Cat and Fiddle pub between Macclesfield and Buxton.

Your correspondent once saw a fine specimen of Bike Woman wearing a uniquely low-cut leather jacket, clearly custom tailored to show off the pushed-up breasts which were completely covered in squirly tattoos. A quick glance had to be sufficient, since the look received from Bike Woman unmistakably indicated that certain people were not the type for which the exhibits were designed. Since the consort was even taller and more muscular, there could be no argument. Your correspondent was walking past a bookshop window at the time and his averted gaze fell on a display copy of the Complete Guide to British Decorated Jugs (this is true).

Bike Woman is closely related to several other species, none of them common but all hoping to escape extinction. These are All-in Mud Wrestling Woman, Second-hand Furniture Woman (House clearance’s a speciality), and Rough Pub Owning Woman.

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Words by Gordon Thorburn, as usual, he did write a very important tome called ‘Men and Sheds’ worth a look though it has photographs ( Pah! )

Hope you enjoy this one, more to follow next year.

May I take this opportunity to wish all the people who bother to look at this site a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Elephant response, anyone for tea?

Another jumbo drawing found in the myriad of files gone through today.This drawing and others were for magazine covers for puzzle books.Jumbo crosswords! It’s a tenuous link but it’s worth it if it gives employment to people with pencils to sharpen.

In this particle case I’m fond of the pullover and those rather large trousers.

I recall many years ago being asked to a ‘top secret’ meeting about branding at an advertising agency.An animated lemon was the subject of serious discussion and whether the lemon in question should be dressed in a suit or casually…yes I thought it was barmy at the time too, but you’ll find that when drawing an elephant serving tea,it’s much better to have them dressed casually.

This particular one never reached final stage and is all the better in some ways for that.It’s odd how the last posting of an elephant got a big response so I am unashamedly posting this one too.

One lump or two?

We need to sort out stuff

It’s that time of year when we go ‘through stuff’ and I’ve been going through the archives. This caught my eye as I was going through a heap of files on my crowded computer.

As I recall it was for a company that wanted to encourage their staff to sort out email protocol.This is a rough and only got this far, sometimes the rough stuff is enough.

There you go then, go and sort out some stuff!

Schoolmasters, where are they?

Here’s another of those missing persons, with words by Gordon Thorburn. The drawing is based on my old history master who was a gem of the species names Mr Trethewey. Even the name was right. He did, as I recall, smoke his bike whilst pedalling and I always had the impression that he was burning old compost in there.

For more of Gordon’s golden words go to
For more of my stuff go to

Whilst I’m at it here’s a really good blog where the writing is witty and erudite every week.



Extinction is inevitable if it hasn’t happened already. We’re talking state school here; all sorts of rare types thrive in the private sector.

Schoolmaster wore a suit to work or, at the very least, a sports jacket with leather elbow patches (vide Proper Doctor). He smoked a pipe which he fuelled with WD&HO Wills’ Gold Block and could often be seen, winter and summer alike, drawing on his pipe while cycling along on his Rudge sit-up-and-beg. In atrocious weather, his wife drove him to school in the family Ford Popular.

At work, he wore a university gown which had long tears in it and was covered with chalk dust. He strode along the corridor with purposeful mien as knots of children unravelled before him. He could remember the names (surnames, naturally) of all the children he ever taught and they, for the whole of their lives, remembered him fondly, gratefully and distinctively. They remembered what he taught them, too.

Schoolmaster is not to be confused with Schoolteacher. Schoolteacher smokes dope, listens to Leonard Cohen records, supports Manchester United and wears trainers and jeans to work. Although both varieties, one now so rare and one so common, always shared a certain naiveté about life in the big wide world, Schoolmaster’s was of an innocent, forgivable sort.

He knew all there was to be knowed about the A-level physics, maths, English or history syllabus and nothing at all about life, or anything else except the clues in The Guardian crossword. He realised this and confined his advice to his recognised areas of expertise.

Schoolteacher, similarly specialised, nevertheless carries banners in demos, feels solidarity with the miners but not the farmers and has fierce arguments about the Euro, the wars in Ndanga, Irdukhistan and the Undisputed Territories, and believes equally in a woman’s right to choose an abortion and a child’s right to choose what it learns at school.

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